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The Woe on Offences.

The Woe on Offences.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
Author: Hall, A. C. A. (Arthur Crawshay Alliston), 1847-1930


'* Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must
needs be that offences come ; but woe to that man by
whom the offence cometh ! "— S. Matthew xviii. 7.
Author: Hall, A. C. A. (Arthur Crawshay Alliston), 1847-1930


'* Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must
needs be that offences come ; but woe to that man by
whom the offence cometh ! "— S. Matthew xviii. 7.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 10, 2014
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THE WOE O OFFECES. Author: Hall, A. C. A. (Arthur Crawshay Alliston), 1847-1930'* Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come ; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh ! "— S. Matthew xviii. 7. In treating this Woe (recorded, it is worth while to remember, in each of the three earlier Gospels ' ) it can hardly be necessary to ex- plain that "offence," the noun, and "offend," the verb, in ew Testament language refer not to a wrong done to us, in the ordinary sense, but to something by which we are led to do wrong, though this is indeed the greatest wrong that can be done to us. An offence is a stumbling-block ; to offend is to put a stum- bling-block in another's path. So the verse that I read is better translated, for modern ears at any rate, in the Revised Version : «'Woe unto the world because of occasions of stum- bling ! for it must needs be that the occasions come ; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh ! " 1 With the text compare S. Mark ix. 42 ; S. Luke xvii. i. 4 50 THE GOSPEL WOES. I. With this understanding of the words who will wonder at the utterance of this Woe by our Lord — both as a lamentation and as a de- nunciation, in sorrow and in judgment ? Why, that which He laments and denounces is the very hindrance and obstacle to the work He
 
came to do. He came as a Moral Reformer ; to raise the fallen, to cheer the sorrowful, to heal the wounded, to abolish sin, to give or restore health, moral and spiritual well-being. That we " might have life, and have it more abundantly,"^ for this He gave His life, in toil, in poverty, in witness, in wrestling with evil. He is the Saviour, from sin, mind you, from moral evil, which is the real and funda- mental cause of sorrow and misery in the world ; He is the Restorer of true health.' And over against Him is one whose name is ** the Destroyer," the angel of the abyss, a murderer from the beginning, the prince of this world.' *' Alas ! alas ! " the Saviour cries, " for the World under the rule, so cruel and so crafty, of its wily Prince, who murders through his lies, casting a glamour over his victims, cov- ering so skilfully his stumbling-blocks, bait- ing so attractively his snares. In the World, so fallen, so ruled, causes of stumbling, occa- > S. John X. lo. 2 s. Matt. L 21. 2 Rev. ix. II. ; S. John viii. 44 ; xiv. 30. OFFECES. 5 1 sions of sin, must needs be ! but Woe," He adds, and here surely He speaks not in sym- pathy but in judgment, "Woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh ! " Such an one, whether consciously or uncon- sciously, is doing the Devil's work. He is used by Satan as a tool and agent in his work
 
of destruction. Think of it, my brethren ; w^henever you or I have tempted another to do wrong, in whatever way, put a stumbling- block, of whatever kind, in another's path, we were doing the Devil's work ; we were doing our part to frustrate the work of Jesus Christ, Who " was manifested to destroy the works of the Devil." ' The Church as the Body, the Spouse, of Christ is to further His interests, to carry on His healing, saving work. The World, as the Harlot, the slave of the Evil One is used by him as his tool in his work of moral destruc- tion.^" o wonder then, I say, that the Saviour pronounced this Woe ; that He declared in words that immediately precede the text, ** Whoso shall cause to stumble one of these little ones — children in years or innocence, or weak believers — it were better for him that a great millstone — not the ordinary light stone ' I S. John iii. 8. ^ See the contrast in Rev. xvii. and xix. 52 THE GOSPEL WOES. used by women in grinding, but a larger stone drawn by an ass — should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea." Such a death was not a recognized punish- ment according to the Jewish Law ; but it was in occasional use, for great criminals, among

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